…But should we be the ones apologising for that?

If you’re celebrating Christmas, no doubt your home is well into the swing of things by now. As we all know, the tree is the most important thing to get right — or do we? Following the posting of a new how-to video by the DisneyParks blog, this funny little tweet from the account of our partner site WDSfans commented:

Useful video for Walt Disney Studios Park managers: RT @DisneyParks Video: How to make a Disney-themed Christmas tree http://bit.ly/5mOkml


In the video, Disneyland Resort’s Manager of Resort Enhancement, Dave Caranci, explains in just a few minutes how “you too” can easily have a Disney-themed Christmas tree. Well, forget posting these tips on the DisneyParks blog, how about sharing them with Disneyland Paris? Judging by what’s happened in the Studios this year, they need some serious help:

Christmas at Walt Disney Studios Park

No, really, this is the tree.

It appears to be the same one as last year, only with the reasonable blue and silver decorations of film canisters and celluloid reels replaced by deathly dull stars and positively melancholy wreaths. It’s about as far from an all-singing, all-dancing, technicolor, Hollywood Christmas as you could imagine.

Fans have also pointed out that the location isn’t perfect — that it might be better sited within the Hollywood Boulevard area as more of a focal point — but see, there’s a method to their madness. Here at the corner of Production Courtyard, it anchors the all-important Christmas Market.

Dubbed “Christmas Lane” for its 2009 appearance, the encampment of old stalls, recycled from Disney Village, has also seen a Parisian “plussing” after its first, “test” appearance in the park last year. Compare and contrast:

Christmas at Walt Disney Studios Park Christmas at Walt Disney Studios Park
2008 Christmas Market / 2009 Christmas Lane

Whilst the old wooden sheds were hardly going to win Miss Hollywood, there’s something to be said for how they were able to disappear into the background a little. Slapped up with lashings of white paint, it’s a confusing scene indeed. Where are we meant to be? It seems more reminiscent of your local garden centre or DIY store than a Disney theme park.

For all the work and money poured into improving the park with fantastic, top-quality additions like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, this takes us right back to the starting block. Yet again a Disney park in Paris is being treated like an empty canvas, as if they’ve got nothing to work with. As numerous elements of the Christmas festivities across the way prove — most recently “it’s a small world” — it’s a whole let better when you complement the park rather than pretend it’s not there. And Walt Disney Studios does still need a lot of complementing.

It’s not like Christmas and Hollywood don’t mix; Just take a look at the decorations over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And, though in debt, it’s not even like Disneyland Paris don’t have money to spend on Christmas; Just look at the constant stream of new events at Disneyland Park this decade, from Belle’s Christmas Village to Santa Claus’, and the new Snow White show and “it’s a small world” Celebration this year. Somewhere, between all of those changes, you’d have thought a bit of the budget could be spared to improve the truly dire offerings just across the hub.

Christmas at Walt Disney Studios Park
A Hollywood Christmas done right

Luckily, the wonderful overlay inside Disney Studio 1 has returned as usual, so all is not lost. The lights, tinsel and glorious jazzy music in there almost make up for the barren park, decorations-wise, beyond. But not quite.

So, Disneyland Paris, our most treasured place, we plead you: It’s time to stop messing around. Priority Number 1 for Christmas 2010 must absolutely be to fix the Studios’ offering. Buy a new tree. Buy some lights. Decorate the buildings. Consider alternatives to the garden shed market. But above all: Sit down and think about the potential here. The amazing theme and time period you’ve got to work with. Take us back to an overblown, primary-coloured, Santa Claus, American “department store” Christmas of the 1950s.

Make this truly “the most wonderful time of the year”, for both parks.

• See the full set of WDS Christmas 2009 photos at Photos Magiques.
• Attn. Walt Disney Studios Managers: Beautiful 1950s Disney Christmas cards, 1950s Christmas ads at Plan59 and our own magicforum WDS Christmas wish list.

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